Forum hears ideas for improving long-term care in Kentucky

People gathered at the Lexington Senior Citizens Center May 16 to discuss problems with long-term care and potential ways to improve it, at an event organized by the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency of the Bluegrass. Gov. Steve Beshear requested that such forums occur across Kentucky.

Attendees split into groups to discuss various topics regarding care of the aging in Kentucky. DG Gridley, founder of Grace Place, said that when she gets older, she would like to continue living in her own house but go to a facility during the day. Grace Place, staffed by medical professionals, is a health club for seniors. Several attendees said care in a nursing home should be based the preferences of each resident. For example, if the requirements were that each resident get a bath twice per week, and one resident wants a bath every day, he or she should be able to do that.

Some attendees encouraged others to speak up when they think elders are not being properly cared for. If something seems out of line, investigate, but people should also share positive stories, they said. Discussing such topics will help get people involved in such issues, some said.

Do you have complaints or comments about long-term care in Kentucky? Do you have suggestions to improve care for the aging population? Send your comments to Comments will be sent to Beshear. All submissions must be sent by Aug. 31.

Forum attendees addressed these questions:

1. What does quality care mean to you? What does quality care look like, feel like? What are the key components to quality care? Who is responsible for good quality care in each of the settings?

2. If you have used a facility (assisted living, personal care, adult day and nursing homes) what did you like the most? The least? If you could make one improvement in a facility placement, what would it be?

3. What are the qualifications of a good caregiver regardless of the setting? How does staff impact care? Is staff education and training important? What topics/techniques should staff learn to address or demonstrate proficiently?

4. In a facility, is the number of staff persons on duty important, or is the quality of the staff more important? Why do you feel that way?

5. Where do you believe abuse and neglect are most prevalent? Knowing the definitions of abuse, neglect and exploitation which do you think is the biggest threat to the elderly and why? What might reduce these threats and help the elderly live safer higher quality lives?

6. Community involvement aids facilities, caregivers and providers in ensuring quality care and quality living for Kentucky’s vulnerable citizens. How can members of our community be more involved in ensuring quality living and quality care for the elderly and individuals with disabilities?

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